No reason to boycott the Francophone Summit, said Minister Valcourt to The Associated Press. According to him, the Congolese people could benefit from the presence of foreigners in its country.
Unless of course, these visitors are present to ensure that women and children violated during war and armed conflicts have their human and legal rights respected.
The Harper government trashed and scrapped the Canadian NGO Rights and Democracy, not before hounding its director Remy Beauregard to death and grinding its projects into the dust, including Monitoring the Work of International Criminal Bodies in Pursuing Crimes of Sexual Violence Committed During Armed Conflicts in Africa.
Even before war erupted in the Congo, women and girls were treated as second-class citizens. Both the law and social norms of the country define the woman's role as that of a person who is subordinate to men. Although women are often one of the main - if not the main - source of support within the family, the Congolese Family Code dictates that women must obey their husband, the recognized head of the household. The country's customs and practices also regard women and girls as subordinates.
In the past few years, brutality against civilians, and sexual violence in particular, have constituted an integral part of the war in the Congo. The various armed groups involved in acts of sexual violence against women and girls continue to be rewarded for their crimes by both their leaders and their powerful allies.
According to the activists, the situation of rape victims is exacerbated by the stigma attached to the violence they have suffered. In many cases, these women and children are ostracized and relegated to the margins of society.
The violence perpetrated against women comes in many forms, including assassination, massacre, rape, sexual slavery, kidnapping, unlawful detention, enrolment of young girls in the combatant forces, forced prostitution, etc. Women's organizations have estimated that, at the height of the war, 100 women were raped each month in the sole region of South Kivu, the epicentre of the armed conflict.
Needless to say, the victims of gender-based violence undergo extreme suffering as a result of the psychological damage and physical injuries inflicted upon them, in addition to having to deal with society's rejection of them. But how can we measure the extent of this problem? We can't, according to Lysette Banza, who points out that "most female victims of rape prefer to keep silent in order to avoid being cast out of society or singled out. This explains the existence of a dark figure in relation to the official statistics on women who have been raped."
In view of this, human rights organizations have undertaken to conduct studies aimed at assessing the scope of the problem and to propose possible avenue of solutions, while identifying those responsible.
Thus Stephen Harper will attend Le Sommet de la francophonie in the DRC, and will be treated lavishly will all the fawning and attendant largesse that one tinpot dictator can expect, in such a *democratic* environment.
Given PMSHithead's own triumphant and CONtemptuous defilement of democratic traditions and practices in Canada, it is only fitting.